Get An Experienced Divorce Lawyer On Your Side. Get a free case evaluation to understand your situation better and address some of your initial questions and concerns. Getting divorced can be hard and stressful. Get the answers you need to protect your rights and move forward. Call Mike and learn about your options.
Divorce & Mediation
Mike Downing is here to guide you through the divorce process and help you make decisions that are right for you. How is that done? First, he will take the time to get to know you and your situation and assess your goals. Each individual is unique, and the guidance provided to you must be equally unique.
Child Custody, Visitation, and Child Support
Alimony & Property Distribution
Alimony, also known as spousal support, may or may not be required as part of an overall divorce settlement. In 2012, Massachusetts enacted the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, which provides specific guidelines for the amount and duration of alimony depending upon the length of the marriage and the age of retirement for the paying spouse. The Alimony Reform Act changed how parties negotiated their marital separation agreements and resulted in modifications and litigation for existing obligations.
The recent Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 complicated matters somewhat by drastically changing tax law for alimony payments. For divorce decrees dated Jan. 1, 2019, or later, alimony payments are no longer deductible for the payer, and the payee may not pay taxes on the payments received. Many couples are discovering that they need the help of tax experts to review their situation. As you can see, changes in the law can significantly affect your divorce decree or negotiated settlement. As your attorney, Mike can evaluate your situation and recommend the right course of action for you.
Divorce Modification & Contempt Actions
A contempt filing is used when a court order is not being followed. A contempt action can be filed in regard to both parenting and financial orders. If the contempt filing is successful, the consequences can be quite serious, including being found in contempt, ordered to pay the other person’s attorney fees and costs incurred, or having support payable by wage assignment or through the State.
A modification filing is used when a person wants to change a court order that was previously entered. In general, you must show that you have experienced a substantial change in circumstances to change an existing order. Like a contempt action, a modification motion can be filed in regard to temporary orders and some final orders. Not all final orders can be modified. For example, a final property division cannot be changed except in extraordinary, very limited circumstances. A modification can be filed relative to child support, alimony, or other financial orders. For example, if you lose your job or your income decreases. A modification can also be filed if you want to change your parenting orders.
If your spouse or former spouse is not complying with a court order and you need it enforced, or if there is an order that you need to change, Attorney Downing will review your existing order and advise you on the legal steps you should take to protect your interests.
Limited Assistance Representation
Although the attorney does not fully participate, the attorney owes the client the same duties of loyalty, competence, and confidentiality for the limited representation as he would under full-service representation. The attorney must also review the limitations of the legal assistance with the client, for example, in a written description. Litigants involved in cases of child support and custody, paternity, divorce, and other family law matters can get partial representation by a qualified lawyer who has signed up with that court. Limited Assistance Representation is available in the Probate and Family Court for the benefit of low and moderate-income clients who cannot afford the cost of full representation service. The incorporation of LAR has provided legal assistance to a substantial population of pro se litigants appearing in Massachusetts state trial courts and should help speed up the legal process.
Attorney Downing will accept LAR cases, with a lower fee, whereas many attorneys will not. This fairly new type of attorney-client business model can be far more effective to the client and far less profitable to the law firm. This is why many larger firms with high-cost rents and many salaried attorneys will not take LAR cases. Call Mike and see if this is an option that would work for you.
About Michael P. Downing
Attorney Downing developed his passion for being a family law attorney when he endured the hardship of divorce himself in 2008. Mike often claims, “I have become the divorce attorney that I wish I had when I went through such an awful experience.” Mike’s law firm specializes in contested and uncontested divorces, child custody, child support, alimony matters, and modifications and contempt actions in the Probate and Family Courts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
More recently, Attorney Downing has expanded the focus of his practice to include criminal defense work as well. These legal matters range from OUI, assault & battery to harassment and larceny cases and other criminal matters where the District Court has jurisdiction.
In prior careers, spanning over 30 years, Mike has worked in law enforcement (corrections & police work) and the mortgage banking industry. Mike received his bachelor’s degree from Western Connecticut State University in 1997 and then moved on to earn his Juris Doctorate from the Massachusetts School of Law, where he teaches Legal Research & Writing as an Adjunct Professor.
Mike enjoys Atkinson, New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife Anne and their four sons. Mike credits his happiness and success to his steadfast commitment to family and his ‘no quit’ mentality. He brings this same energy and passion into his law practice daily, as he zealously advocates for his clients.
Contact Us about Your Case
If you have a legal concern that you would like our help with, reach out to us. We will respond to you shortly.
Mike Downing Divorce Attorney, Divorce Lawyer, Serving Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Mike Downing is reasonable and affordable and offers community-based legal services, with a primary focus on Family Law including divorce, paternity, child support, parenting plan modification actions, and contempt actions. Attorney Downing also specializes in Criminal Law including Hit and Run and Felony charges in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, DUI: Driving Without a License or Insurance, Reckless Driving and Racing, Assault & Battery and Aggravated Assault and Battery. Mike works with a variety of client-based needs, including those who seek Limited Assistance Representation (LAR), Flat-Fee consultation and Low-Income Fee Clients, without the typical requirement for a very large retainer to secure his services. Mike is available most days and evenings, including weekends, to take your call and answer your questions.